In Big Trouble in Little China, Jack Burton says these words to Margo in the truck during the final scenes:

Margo: What was that?

Jack Burton: 6.9 on the Richter scale.

There is no Richter Scale in the truck. Then what is the meaning of Jack Burton's words to Margo?

2 Answers 2


It was the roar and vibration of his uber-macho truck starting up that startled Margo. He was metaphorically comparing its power to that of an massive earthquake.


It's been too long since I've seen the movie, so I'm struggling to remember context of that quote... but the Richter scale is used to measure the magnitude of an earthquake. It's a logarithmic scale.

As someone who spent 14 years in southern California, I can assure you that a 6.9 would be a massive earthquake. (For reference, the 1989 earthquake that disrupted the 1989 World Series was a 6.9, and cost an estimated $6 billion in property damage.)

Jack is obviously making a reference to something big, powerful, and dangerous.

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